There’s a reason why leafy greens are the poster child of healthy eating: They’re packed with nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. And they’re easy to add to any meal.
But not all leafy greens are created equal. So which ones should you be buying?
Here are some popular greens — and what they can do for your health:
This versatile vegetable is packed with vitamins A, C, K and folate. It’s also high in iron, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body and supports healthy blood cells. Spinach contains nitrates, which promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation in the arteries.
- Swiss chard
This green has a mild taste that makes it versatile in recipes. Swiss chard is high in vitamin C and potassium as well as calcium, which helps maintain strong bones and teeth. It has more iron than spinach but less than beet greens.
- Beet greens
Beet greens are part of the same plant family as beets (or beetroots), but they’re typically harvested before they reach maturity so they don’t taste sweet like their root counterparts do — hence their bitter flavor (which some people enjoy). Beet greens are rich in vitamins A and C as well as folate; they also contain calcium and magnesium for stronger bones
Kale is super high in vitamin A (which promotes eye health), vitamin C (which supports immunity) and iron (which aids red blood cell production). It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin — just like spinach — which protect against macular degeneration.
There are many varieties of kale such as curly kale, dinosaur kale and lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or black kale). All have similar nutritional profiles but each has slightly different taste and texture characteristics.
- Collard Greens
Like kale and other leafy greens, collard greens are high in fiber and nutrients such as calcium and vitamins A and C that help fight disease. They also contain glucosinolates